Nnamdi Asomugha was surprised to learn Friday the Raiders would not be televised locally in their home opener.
“People are probably thinking, you’re playing the Rams, and this is not the Patriots,” Asomugha said. “I don’t understand it. I know the fans want more from us. And we’d like to see that place sold out. It’s tough. It’s tough on both of us.”
Asomugha, along with place kicker Sebastian Janikowski and punter Shane Lechler, are the only players who could possibly understand. They’ve been around for the entire seven-year death spiral. Asomugha, in fact, arrived in 2003 _ the year it started with a 4-12 season under Bill Callahan.
Based on what you see in comments on this blog as well as other forums, the biggest problem Raiders fans have is the fact that so many of them allow themselves a sense of optimism going into the season, only to have it dashed.
And unlike last year’s 24-20 loss to San Diego, when players and fans could point to the Louis Murphy call and believe their team outplayed the Chargers, they had another one of those even-year splatter jobs like a bug on I-5 windshield.
San Diego in 2006 . . . Denver in 2008 . . . Tennessee in 2010. Granted, Tennessee was different in that it was on the road, but it had that same way-over-by-halftime feel to it. The worst part about those two games is they helped define the season to come. Art Shell’s team gave up 72 sacks and went 2-14. Lane Kiffin got serious about getting himself fired by implying running the defense and lasted only a quarter of the season.
It was suggested to Asomugha that a lot of people feared this team, like those teams, was headed down the same road.
“We’re a different team. When you go through as many seasons as its been, you have to be careful that you don’t lump the seasons in together,” Asomugha said. “You would be doing a disservice to this present team by grouping them in with past teams. And I think that’s the thing that’s going to put us over the hump from what has gone on in the past.
“It’s definitely a more confident team and a more resilient team, so that’s why we’re not as worried about it as much.”